Try This Thursday Yoga Style

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy Thursday!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful day so far! I apologize for the late post. I usually prepare posts the night before, but was unable to yesterday due to a very obnoxious headache. I would like to think I have a decent pain threshold, but when it comes to headaches all bets are off. I turn into a baby, and most of the time I convince myself I'm going to die at any moment. Anyways, this is why I am just now getting around to posting.

Before my headache took over my day yesterday, I attended my first Bikram Yoga class ever. Most of you know, that I have done quite a bit of "hot yoga" in the past, but Bikram Yoga is a whole new world. I was so excited when I found a Bikram studio just 15 minutes from my house, and even more excited when I found out they offered a one month trial offer for just $40. Being the adventurous person that I am (well sometimes), I decided to sign up. I grabbed my yoga mat, water bottle, and towel, and I was off to class. I had heard a lot of positive things about Bikram yoga, so I was super excited to try it out. Since I practice yoga almost every day, and have attended quite a few hot yoga classes, I really wasn't too nervous. How much worse can 104 degrees and 75% humidity feel than 96 degrees and 60% humidity? Apparently, a lot worse!!!!

I walked into the room, and was like "whoa what have I gotten myself into?" But of course, I was not about to turn around and walk out before we even got started. Did I mention all Bikram Yoga classes are 90 minutes? So class started, and I slowly started to turn from my normal shade of pasty to a not so pretty shade of crimson! I really don't think I have ever worked so hard, been so hot, or sweat so much in my entire life! It was the butt kicking of a lifetime, and overall I really enjoyed it (minus the dehydration headache that followed). I plan on going back in the next few days and hopefully my body will handle it a little better the second time.

This brings me to the topic of today's "Try This Thursday." Although we might not all have access to a yoga studio (or want to sweat our brains out in Bikram), you can still do yoga in your very own home. There are a lot of days that I don't attend a full yoga class, so I turn my guest bedroom into my own little yoga studio. A lot of people are unsure how to do yoga on their own without the instruction of a teacher, but not to worry it's really quite easy! A great place to start is with the sun salutation.

This 8 posture sequence is a great way to start your own personal practice. The Sun Salutation is traditionally practiced in the morning to greet a new day. Start by performing 2-3 sets and work your way up to 8 or more. The Sun Salutation strengthens your entire body and improves flexibility in your hips, hamstrings, shoulders and back.

1. To begin, stand in Mountain Pose. Distribute your weight evenly over both feet.

2. Next, inhale and stretch your arms out to the side and overhead into Upward Hand Pose.

3. As you exhale, hollow out your belly and fold into Standing Forward Fold, connecting down into the earth. Keep your legs firmly engaged.

4. Inhale and lengthen your spine forward into Flat Back. In this pose, the gaze is lifted, the spine is extended, and the fingertips can stay on the floor or rise to the shins.

5. Exhale and step your right foot back into a low lunge, then bring your left foot to meet your right coming into a Plank. Your wrists should be flat on the floor, shoulder-distance apart, and your feet should be at hip distance. Take a full breath in as you lengthen through your spine.

6. Exhale and lower into Chaturanga (crocodile), keeping your legs straight and pushing back into your heels or bringing your knees to the floor. Your hands and toes (or knees) should be the only body parts touching the floor.

7. Inhale and lift your chest forward into Upward Facing Dog (or cobra). Pull your shoulders back and open your collarbones. Engage your legs lifting your quadriceps off the mat, but relax your gluteal muscles. The tops of your feet should be in contact with the mat.

8. Exhale and roll over the toes (or flip them one at a time), coming into Donward Facing Dog. Think about reaching your heels toward the floor and your chest towards your quadriceps. Allow your head to hang in-between your arms, feeling the strength in your shoulders. You should look like an upside down V.

9. Inhale and step your right foot in-between your hands and then bring your left foot to meet your right, returning to Standing Forward Fold.

11. Inhale, reaching your arms out wide to your sides and coming to stand through a flat back. Feel a renewed sense of energy as you draw your arms overhead into Upward Hand Pose.

12. Exhale and return to Prayer Position. Repeat the entire series on your left side. Right and Left together equal one set.

If you're more of a visual learner, check out this great video from!

The Sun Salutation is also a great workout when you are crunched for time or don't have a lot of room to work with. Trust me, after about 5 sets your shoulders and core will be talking!

Questions of the day:
Do you ever do yoga on your own?
Have you ever tried Bikram Yoga? What did you think?

In health,

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